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Posts tagged with: menu planning

Changes Made


Many of you have asked about what practical, day-to-day things I and my children have done to start saving serious money and paying down debt.  Sundays are always a day that remind me of what huge changes we have made in our basic, everyday spending.

In June of 2012 I started making serious changes to our diet and eating habits.  I wish I knew exactly how much of my debt can be attributed to eating out because my guess is that a good chunk of what I owe came from food!  How pathetic is THAT?!  But as I talk to friends and family about this, I know I am not alone in that very bad habit of eating meals out.  Eating out is not only bad for us from a nutritional standpoint–it is just darn expensive!  This last week I did not have a plan for meals after the move and I am sick of dropping $25 to Subway for a meal…not to mention sick of the food!

But how do we avoid it?  As a mom who works outside the home while raising two very busy kids, I have to have a plan.  And Sunday is my day to execute that plan.  I spent five hours cooking today.  I made our meals for the evening and lunches/snacks using the same ingredients.  I start every week with the goal that we will not find ourselves in a drive thru window eating like seagulls!  That’s a running joke with the kids “only seagulls should eat out of windows!”  This is a huge challenge given our weekday schedules.  This week we even have “to go” items for our evenings that we will eat “on the go” but they are made from all real food ingredients.  While eating in the car is not great we DO make it a family meal!  I am super proud of that and love to hear my kids tell other kids that we do this!  And I cannot tell you how far this is from the old Claire.   My sister (a dietician) STILL cannot believe my transformation.  I used to make fun of her for her refusal to buy pre-shredded cheese.  🙂

So challenge yourself and your family to not eat out for ONE week or maybe even a MONTH!  If you are doing two drive thru meals per week and we estimate $25 per visit, you’re saving 50 bucks per week and eventually $200 per month! Make eating out a treat and not the norm!  Seeing restaurants as undesirable and making better choices at the grocery store has made an enormous difference in my debt snowball.  Our grocery budget is $300 per month!  The bulk of that savings has come from a dramatic reduction in packaged foods and instead making things from scratch.  Eating at home is always better than eating out and then I took it a step beyond and started making a lot of our food with unprocessed ingredients which keeps us full longer and cost less to make in the long run. 

For those of you that might be interested, my go to meal planning websites are www.thescramble.com and www.momables.com.  Check them out!

March Bump Update…


I’ve decided to do a once monthly bump update. If you aren’t interested, sorry. Skip this and resume reading tomorrow. ; )

February 2, 2011:
I express grave concern to my husband because, at 16 weeks, my stomach is flat. “Do you think the baby stopped growing?!? Do you think something is wrong?!?! Oh my gosh! Something is wrong isn’t it?!?!”

February 3, 2011:
At the doctor’s appointment, the doctor says, “Hmm. The baby is a little larger than I expected.”

On the way home, I wail, “I’m going to have a jumbo baby!! Oh dear Lord. What did I do wrong?! Why do I have a behemoth fetus!?!?!? Shrink! Shrink!”

At a red light, my husband hits his head on the steering wheel repeatedly.

February 10, 2011:
Some people are finding out about the baby at work. Most are shocked and make expected remarks like, “I can’t even tell you’re pregnant!” and “You are simply glowing!” A guy from finance says, “Weird, I was thinking about asking you if you were pregnant last week. Your hips look wider.”

HR spends 15 minutes lecturing me about the appropriateness of comparing a fellow employee to a ‘donkey’s hind quarters’.

February 11, 2011:
My husband posts a status update on his Facebook that says, ‘Got to feel my baby move for the first time last night! Man this is awesome.’

Meanwhile… I felt nothing. Since when is it normal for the HUSBAND to feel the kid move first? Welcome to my life.

February 18, 2011:
My brother’s friends come over for ‘guy’s night’. They start talking about the baby and one of them says, “This is SOOO cool!” Feeling warmed by the tender moment, I smile… until he finishes, “We have a designated driver for the next 5 months!!”

February 24, 2011:
I discover that my love for the E-mealz menu planning service is fading. Not because E-mealz has done anything wrong, but because E-mealz doesn’t plan meals solely containing pineapple juice and carrot sticks dipped in ranch dressing.

20 Weeks